This year the Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference was held in Spooner on June 24th. Shirley Bauer and Karin Preus attended, here are their reports. 

From Shirley:
I attended the 2016 Lakes Conference in Spooner, Wisconsin on a beautiful summer day on Friday, June 24. It was well attended I learned some interesting things from the various sessions I attended.

A student, Kela Vicich who is going to be a senior at Cumberland High School, started off the conference by telling her story of how she and other volunteers in the area are working on a project together to rid Eurasain water milfoil by introducing weevils to Shallow Lake. The weevils feed on the evasive plant to help eradicate it without upsetting the natural balance of the lake. They love it, plus they are native. It was quite interesting to hear about the process they developed for harvesting the weevils. It is very expensive, a dollar per weevil! Did you know EWM grows 2 inches a day! For more information, contact Dave Blumer, Lake Education and Planning Services.

The next speaker, Peter Annin, Environmental Journalist and Author, talked about the Great Lakes and how lucky we are to have this fresh water resource. For years there have been political maneuvers and water diversion schemes that have proposed sending Great Lakes Water to other states who’s water supply is in jeopardy. But now there is a legal document, released by the Council of Great Lakes Governors in 2005, which prohibits most Great Lakes water diversions with limited exceptions. It was adopted by eight state legislatures in the Great Lakes region, the U.S. Congress and signed by the president in 2008!

Then we got to choose from a variety of sessions to attend. My first one was about conservation land easements for lakes. As a lake shore owner, we play a critical role in protecting clean water, fish, and wildlife habitat. If you want, you can set up a land trust to protect your land forever from land development and zoning changes. It costs about $3,000 for the average assessment/easement, but you get a tax credit of $60,000 if I heard correctly! The easement goes on the deed when the property is sold. There is annual monitoring of the property. They also talked about shoreline conservation, which are voluntary and it is passed on to the new owner. For stewardship, you can implement a Habitat Restoration plan. Applications are due February 1st. For more information go to www.brcland.org or www.wwlt.org

The next session was Lake Restoration. You can have an evaluation done to address buffer zones and creating habitat. There are certified landscape professionals who are trained on lake shore restoration. Pre-planning should be done a year in advance as time is a big factor. It is the land owners responsibility to maintain! If you sell, let the new owners know the history of your shoreline if it was restored. You can get grant money from the Wisconsin DNR! Contact the DNR for more information!

The last session I attended was a hot topic! It was on shoreline zoning update. They had a panel of four zoning administrators, one of which was Jason Towne of Burnett County. In 2015, a bill was passed ( Act 55) that the county now follows the state’s standards, which is much less strict than 43 county’s standards were. Viewing corridors are now 35′ per 100′ lake lot. So if someone had 300′ of lake shore, they can have 105′ wide viewing corridor no matter the lot width. The county had a 30′ viewing corridor! Boat houses can no longer be banned, but the county can have a say to size, color, materials, doors, and more. All water bodies are now 75′ lake setbacks. It was 100′ on class three-lakes! The people are frustrated with what they have accomplished in the past. Home/Lake Associations can help change it in the next legislative session. For more information on other changes, call the Country Zoning Office at 715-349-2138 or visit their office!

From Karin:
Will report once I’m a little further along on this website.